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General News of Sunday, 26 July 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Kwesi Pratt recounts how he established his relationship with Atta Mills


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Veteran journalist Kwesi Pratt Jnr has revealed the genesis of his close relationship with the late President John Evans Atta Mills.

The two distinguished men enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship until the demise of Mills on July 24, 2012.

Recounting his experience with the late President to GhanaWeb, Pratt traced their relationship to the PNDC era.

Pratt said despite his knowledge of him as a Professor at the University of Ghana, they crossed paths in 1982 when Mills was being considered for the role of Director-General for the National Sports Council.

According to him, in the lead up to the appointment, Zaya Yeebo who was the Secretary for Youth and Sports and close friend asked if he knew of anyone competent enough to handle the position and Mills was the first person who came to mind.

The veteran journalist, despite the fact that he wasn't close to Mills then, he put in a word for him due his impressive works at the University of Ghana.

From there, according to Pratt their relationship soared and though it suffered a dip during Mills' vice presidential days, they did well to resurrect it when he went into opposition.

“I was fairly close to him. The relationship was fairly distant in the beginning. I knew him as a respected man on the UG campus. A friend of mine had become PNDC secretary of youth and sports in 1982 and they were looking who was honest, forthright and exceptional administrative skills to handle the NSC at the time because it was a bit in a of a problem at the time”.

“Zaya Yeebo asked me what I thought and immediately Prof. Mills’ name came to mind. Eventually he got appointed as chairman of NSC and I knew him fairly well. When he became vice president I didn’t meet him much until he came into opposition”, Pratt said.

Discussing the personality of the late professor, Pratt described him as an ‘extraordinary man’ who did things in ordinary ways.

Pratt paid glowing tributes to his late friend and urged politicians to emulate his exemplary ways.

“The late John Evans Atta Mills was an extraordinary human being. I recall seeing him on the playing field where he was either playing hockey or football or some other game or just simply being in the stands. He was intensely involved in sports that it was amazing. For a professor of his standing to be that actively involved in sports was something to behold. It was extraordinary.”

“Professor Mills was not your ordinary politician. He brought something to the table which no other politician has been able to do. It was just his simplicity, honesty and his absolute lack of craving for public attention. He was so ordinary that it was very difficult to say he was a head of state even when he had been elected as president,” he said.



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